How To Make Perfect Fabric Baby Blocks

You can make cute fabric baby blocks from a foam cube and six fabric squares. We used 4″ foam and an adorable fabric panel called “Baby Geniuses Grow Up!” by Linda Carlson & Diana Henage from Benartex.

You can make these cute fabric baby blocks!

You can make these cute fabric baby blocks!

One 5/8 yard panel has 30 colorful squares (enough to make 5 blocks) featuring letters of the alphabet and adorable cartoon animals. You could also use the 3″ number squares to make smaller number blocks.

Baby Geniuses Grow Up! 5/8 yard panel

Baby Geniuses Grow Up! 5/8 yard panel

You can use any size foam, simply cut your fabric squares 1/2″ wider than your foam. You can cut your foam block to shape using any sharp kitchen knife.

Materials: 4" foam cube and six 4.5" fabric squares

Materials: 4" foam cube and six 4.5" fabric squares

Note: To make nice square corners, do not stitch all the way to the edge of the fabric. Be sure to start and stop stitching 1/4″ from all edges.

Sew in 1/4" seam allowances

Sew in 1/4" seam allowances

Sew six squares into cross shape

Sew six squares into cross shape

So far... so good!

So far… so good!

Fold bottom on diagonal, then sew each of the four side seams

Fold the bottom square on a diagonal angle, then sew the side seam (where scissors are pointing). Repeat for each of the four side seams

Now you have a box with a flap top

Now you have a box with a flap top

Sew two sides of the top flap, leave one side open

Sew two sides of the top flap, leave one side open

Turn right side out and square corners gently with chopstick

Turn right side out and square corners gently with chopstick

Squeeze foam cube through opening

Squeeze foam cube through opening

Stitch opening shut

Stitch opening shut

Finished!

Finished!

Baby approves!

Baby approves!

For more baby toy fun, see our Baby Puzzle Ball pattern!

Get That Serger Out of the Box!

Is that serger you got for Christmas still sitting in the box? Afraid to open it? Here are a few tips to Get That Serger Out of the Box:

  • Under pain of death, never pull any of the thread out of the machine. Most machines arrive “pre-threaded” from the factory. Do not pull these threads out (or prepare thyself for a subsequent 21 hours of RTFM and more that a little foul language). Instead, tie the new thread to whatever is sticking out of the machine in a square knot. The knot will easily pass through the entire machine. Do no use an overhand knot, its more likely to get stuck… now you broke your thread, dummy.
  • Use a different color for every thread. While you are doing your practice runs, its really helps to be able to see which thread does what. Usually there are two “loop” threads – one on front and one on back. Then there are one or, usually, two straight stitch threads.
Four different threads? No problem.
Four different threads? No problem.
  • Leave a really long tail. Unlike a traditional straight stitch machine which will become hopelessly frigged up if you run it for any duration – no matter how brief – with no fabric under the presser foot, not so with ol’ Sergies. He likes it! And its good for you, too. When your farbic totally clears the presser foot, keep on the gas until you have at least a 6″ tail. Then cut it 2″ or so from your fabric – you can tuck this end in later. Leaving the long tail prevents threads from getting pulled back into the machine and possibly coming – GASP – unthreaded. We don’t want to go back there.
Jeri's First Serge
Jeri’s First Serge
  • Do a bunch of practice runs on quilting cotton first. We all know a serger’s wheelhouse is stretchy fabrics. And we know you CAN’T WAIT to go start cutting up old sweaters, but – believe me – you’ll want to start out on some good old quilting cotton strips. This way you can get a feel for the machine and learn what all the different threads are doing before you introduce the complexity of knit fabrics.